Last kayaking in Japan

August 4, 2007

My last kayaking in Japan – surfing in the river kayak at Nobiru beach.

The previous day we got back from the beautiful Ajishima on what we were told was the last ferry before the typhoon waves got too big, so I was expecting some big surf today. It was obviously storm surf but the height wasn’t as terrifying as I thought it might be, I’d say from crest to trough somewhere around 5 feet on the bigger waves. Some of the waves were breaking really nicely – holding up for a long time and then crumbling down while others were dumping so it was really pot luck on a lot of runs. The beach shape was also a bit funny causing the waves to break flatten and then reform into a shore break with 2-3 footers and a 20m run into shore.

I’m not sure if I am getting better or less scared of the surf (by the way I think a helmet really helps your confidence) but I was able to get on a lot of waves and was even waiting for the bigger waves….

Still not doing very much; starting to carve a bit on the wave face and I think I even got the steering rudder worked out but I definately need to engage with the ‘power pocket’ of the wave more. Still, enjoying the speed very much. As usual got tossed a few times but had great fun.

It was raining when I started around 10am but the sun came out and the beach got busier by 1pm when I packed up – exhausted. So that was it.

Thanks Japan for a great place to sea kayak and surf: the pacific is a lovely warm ocean to learn to sea kayak.

Thanks also to everyone who helped me, taught me how to kayak and provided priceless snippets of information about sea kayaking in Japan…

11 Responses to “Last kayaking in Japan”

  1. Ankit Arora Says:

    Nice to read about your kayaking experience !!
    i did it three times here in Toronto and am really enjoying it !!!
    Its great to kayak !!!

  2. nmurtagh Says:

    Thank, Kieran, for all the info. This blog is a mine of useful stuff! Pity you are no longer in Japan, but I hope u’r enjoying life back in Scotland.

    If anyone reading this is based in the Yokohama/Tokyo and is interested in kayaking Tokyo bay area and/or the local rivers, please get in touch.

    Niall (–> planning to buy a foldable kayak soon).

    email: nmurtagh (AT) gmail (DOT) com

  3. Charles Says:

    Wow, this blog is interesting! I just discovered it. I ought to read this more often.

    I was just wondering, as an expert on the subject of sea kayaking in Japan, do you happen to know if it is possible/safe to cross from Busan (South Korea) to Tsushima, Japan? It’s about 50 kilometers. Iki Island is also about 50 kilometers away from Busan.

    I was kind of thinking that when/if I move to Busan to do graduate studies, I could buy a used sea kayak and take weekend trips to Tsushima Island, Japan — a great workout, more economical than the ferry, and a chance to go to Japan pretty much whenever I want.

    Do you think it’s possible/safe? How long do you think a 50-kilometer journey in the Tsushima Strait would take? Thank you.

    • Kieran Says:

      Hi Charles

      50km accross that straight would be at least 10 hours probably more. There is a strong current called the black current which runs up the sea of Japan. This is a big crossing, I wouldn’t do it alone and unless you are experienced I wouldn’t recommend.

      Have a look at the Gumbies blog – they do crazy crossing like this all the time!

  4. Ian Beasley Says:

    Hi Kieran,
    Your article “Last kayaking in Japan” is a good read. I am currently writing a book about kayaking and wonder if I could use your story in it?


  5. Kieran Says:

    Yes no problem, can’t see what the great interest is but help yourself. Could you let me know when the book is published and where I might get it?
    kierangaffney at hotmail dot com

  6. Ian Beasley Says:

    Kieran, my book is now available. Let me know your address and I will send a copy.

    • Hi Ian
      That sounds good. Could you e-mail me on kierangaffney at hotmail dot com
      and I will e-mail the address accross – very interested to read your book.


  7. pat Says:

    Kieran, just found your blog and it looks cool. Do you know whay nobody kayaks around the Sumidagawa river/Tsukishima/Toyosu area? I just moved here and would love to do it, I cant find a used kayak anywhere. Do you know where I might look? Thanks, Pat

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